Eilish McColgan says winning gold at this summer’s World Championships is a “pipe dream” and she is instead focusing on breaking the 30-minute barrier in the 10,000 metres.
The 32-year-old Scot is recovering from the knee injury which forced her to pull out of the London Marathon last month just days before the race.
She returned to light training at the weekend with the August event in Budapest in her sights but admits that her time on the sidelines has severely hampered her chances of topping the podium.
McColgan has had incredible success in the 10,000 metres over recent years, winning gold in the European Championships in 2021 and then at the Commonwealth Games 12 months later before creating history in March of this year by setting a new British record of 30:00.86.
And now she wants to become the first non-African-born woman to go under 30 minutes.
On her chances of winning gold in Budapest she told the PA news agency: “That would exceed my goals right now because of the setbacks I have had. I think it would be a pipe dream right now, but I am not going to set myself any real limits.
“To be in Budapest and be at the start and healthy would be a big achievement to be honest.
“But my big thing this year would be to break the 30 minutes in the 10k. I think there are only 12 women in the world who have done that, it would be a big achievement for me.
“Earlier in the year I had no doubt I could break 30 minutes, now there is a little bit of a doubt because I haven’t been able to train for the last so many weeks.
“It does put a little bit of a question mark over whether I can do it and perhaps that is one for next season, but it would be really nice to be in Budapest and be competitive.
“To be in the top six fastest women in the world… that would be a great achievement.”
It has been a frustrating few weeks for McColgan, having to rehab her knee problem, which fortunately did not need surgery.
And she cites recovering from injuries as one of the main triggers of stress in her job, especially as she says that her method of dealing with it is to go out and run.
“It’s a very privileged job that I have, it is not quite the same pressures as other people may have but we are still humans, we are not robots at the end of the day, so we do have pressures,” McColgan added.
🏴🏃♀️ EILISH MCCOLGAN
This race was amazing, as the Scottish star @EilishMccolgan strode to an epic victory in the 10,000m Women's Final!@Team_Scotland are raking in the medals again tonight.#B2022 #CommonwealthGames pic.twitter.com/KC7S4xnrp1
— Birmingham 2022 (@birminghamcg22) August 3, 2022
“The biggest pressure is coming back from injury but we go through the same stresses as everyone else because with regards injury and illness, if we don’t race or compete that is how we pay our bills.
“It is the biggest pressure, coming back from injury and making sure you’re healthy.
“It is maybe more challenging for myself, running is ultimately what can cause my stress but it is what I use as a stress release. That is difficult if I am injured and I can’t do the thing I love.
“You train hard for years of your career for months and months on end to race. That lends itself to pressure, you build yourself up to that one event.
“Usually it’s the World Championships or Olympic Games because it is one day every four years where you have to be ready. It is quite big stakes when it is one day in four years.
“You think, ‘s***, that is not easy’. It is challenging to get the right balance of really enjoying your sport without it becoming too intense.”
A recent study has revealed that 85 per cent of people say sweating can increase stress levels, even though it is proven to have health benefits.
McColgan is part of deodorant brand Bionsen’s ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ campaign, which aims to remove the stigma of sweating and offer tips on how to manage stress.
McColgan added: “I don’t think people should be afraid to sweat. A few years ago it was almost like women didn’t want to be seen to be sweating, but now it is more of a confidence thing. Being active and keeping fit and being afraid to sweat is hard work, but that is what it takes.”
:: Bionsen’s full deodorant range is available from £2.69 at a variety of retailers including Boots, Amazon and Bionsen’s website: https://bionsen.uk/